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Building Consents Issued: March 2013
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  30 April 2013
Commentary

Figures given are not adjusted for seasonal fluctuations unless otherwise stated.

Three-year low in apartment numbers

Fewer new dwellings, including apartments, were consented in March 2013 compared with March 2012. There were only 16 new apartments, the lowest monthly number since February 2010. The number of apartments can vary a lot from month to month.

In March 2013 compared with March 2012:

  • 1,459 non-apartment dwellings were consented, up 65 (4.7 percent) from 1,394.
  • Just 16 new apartments were consented, down from 165. All of the apartments this month were retirement village units. 
  • 1,475 new dwellings including apartments were consented, down 84 (5.4 percent) from 1,559.

The seasonally adjusted number of new dwellings, including apartments, fell 9.1 percent in March, after a 4.4 percent rise in February. Monthly changes in the seasonally adjusted number can be volatile, and this month’s fall was partly due to the small number of new apartments consented.

The trend for the number of new dwellings, including apartments, has been positive for two years, but the rate of growth has slowed in recent months. The trend is now 51 percent higher than the most recent low point in March 2011. 

Graph, Trend for new dwellings consented, monthly, March 2006 to March 2013.  

Following an 11.2 percent rise in January and a 2.6 percent fall in February, the seasonally adjusted number of non-apartment dwellings fell 3.1 percent in March 2013. The trend for new non-apartment dwellings is also 51 percent higher than the most recent low-point in March 2011. 

New dwellings down in most regions

Compared with March 2012, the number of new dwellings consented fell in 11 of the 16 regions this month. The regions with the largest falls were:

  • Auckland, down 118 
  • Wellington, down 45 
  • Bay of Plenty, down 21 
  • Otago, down 20.

There were no new apartments consented in Auckland this month, down from 104 in March 2012.

 Graph, New dwellings consented by region, March month, 2011 to 2013.

The largest regional increase in the number of new dwellings this month was in Canterbury, up 163 to 444 new dwellings. This is the highest monthly number for the region in six years, since 464 in March 2007. Notable within the Canterbury region are:

  • Selwyn district, up 57 to 111 new dwellings
  • Christchurch city, up 50 to 126
  • Waimakariri district, up 42 to 142.

The number of new dwellings consented in both Waimakariri and Selwyn districts are the highest monthly numbers for both districts since the series began in April 1990. 

The Waikato, Tasman, Marlborough, and Gisborne regions all had single-digit increases this month compared with March 2012.  

Prisons boost non-residential buildings value

The value of non-residential building consents increased by $62 million (20 percent) to $365 million this month, compared with March 2012. The largest change was a $128 million increase in hostels and boarding houses, boosted by work on prisons in the Auckland region.

Hostels and boarding houses include school and workers’ accommodation, boarding houses, prisons, and barracks.

 Graph, Value of non-residential buildings consented, by building type including alterations and additions, March month, 2011 to 2013.

Other increases in non-residential buildings value were from:

  • offices and administration buildings, up $13 million
  • storage buildings, up $9 million
  • education buildings, up $6 million.

Canterbury earthquake-related consents worth $51 million

The value of Canterbury earthquake-related building consents in March was $51 million, following $36 million in February and $60 million in January. Residential work was worth $29 million in March and included 57 new dwellings. Non-residential work was valued at $22 million while non-building construction was $0.3 million. Demolitions and seismic strengthening work are excluded.

See also Earthquake-related building consents in Canterbury.    

Since 4 September 2010, over 4,000 earthquake-related consents have been identified in Canterbury, totalling almost $940 million. This includes 772 new dwellings, of which 150 were relocatable units. Also included are alterations and additions for residential buildings, non-residential buildings, and non-building construction.

Building consents are often used as an early indicator of building activity, as measured by Statistics NZ's quarterly Value of Building Work Put in Place. Canterbury building activity increased 1.5 percent (current price, seasonally adjusted) in the December 2012 quarter, compared with 1.3 percent for the rest of New Zealand. In the September 2012 quarter, Canterbury building activity surged 30 percent, while the rest of New Zealand had a 5.0 percent increase. 

Value of Building Work Put in Place: March 2013 quarter will be published on 5 June 2013.

All buildings value up

The value of consents for all buildings was $937 million this month, up 10 percent from $848 million in March 2012.

Graph, Value of buildings consented, including alterations and additions, monthly, March 2011 to March 2013. Graph, Value of buildings consented, including alterations and additions, year ended March, 2011 to 2013.

For the year ended March 2013, compared with the year ended March 2012, the value of consents increased for:

  • all buildings, up $1,426 million (16 percent) to $10,337 million
  • residential buildings, up $1,275 million (25 percent) to $6,464 million
  • non-residential buildings, up $151 million (4.1 percent) to $3,873 million.

Revisions for February

Additional data for February 2013 was received from Selwyn district, increasing the number of new dwellings and adding consents for several non-residential buildings.

See revisions for changes to February 2013 data for Selwyn, Canterbury, and New Zealand.

For more detailed data, see the Excel tables in the 'Downloads' box.

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